Thursday, October 1, 2009

First Ride

The S7 Deluxe has been ready, but I needed a license plate to take it out on the street.  The moment I was waiting for arrived today, when the tag and registration came.  I made some quickie retaining clips to hold the plate on over the original UK number plate.  The clips are made of a strip of stainless sheetmetal curved to catch behind the original license plate bracket.  There's a hole drilled in the strip and a bolt welded into that hole so that when the outside retaining nut is tightened the bolt doesn't turn.  The matching brackets attach from the left and right sides and are backed with a strip of inner tube rubber.  This protects the original bracket and gives some elastic tension to the clips.  The clips are made tight enough that they spring out JUST enough to allow the license plate to stretch between the studs.  It is very secure.  Currently the bottom has no clips but simply a piece of weatherstripping behind the plate to protect the original KYL95 plate from abrasion, but I may add some bottom clips later.

You will notice in the film that I forgot to do something as I drove away.  Yup... forgot to turn on the fuel.  I'm so spoiled by the XS650 with automatic vacuum-operated petcocks, and the Guzzi with no petcock.  I got 50 yards down the road and quickly realized what I had forgotten.  I made a few trips UP the hill from my house.  That way if it stops running I can always coast back home.  Unfortunately, its a rather short drive up the hill, so I made a few iterative trips while tweaking the carb.  Overall it runs nicely.  It pulls well even in 3rd gear, and each shift is flawless (unlike the Guzzi).

The best way to see if you've forgotten to tighten any bolts is to see how many fall off on the maiden voyage.  I did pretty good.  I only lost the nut from the distributor breaker contact wire.  It was an easy fix and I was back going again.

There appears to be some oil seepage from the head gasket.  I'll try to torque the head again, but I don't want to snap a stud.  I'm afraid my attempts to seal the oil passageway have failed.  I may be taking the head off again to improve the seal.  I'll have to see what happens when the engine gets good and warm.  Things may seal up as they get hot, or it  may get worse.

My instincts will have to develop for the brake on the left foot.  It will take a while to get used to.  If I can figure a clean an inconspicuous way to add a brake light switch to the front brake I think I will.  Its a safety item and I think its worthwhile.  Learning low speed turning will also be a challenge.  It does get a little squirrely in the turns.  The bike is so well balanced and so low, the counter-steer effect is prevalent even at slow speeds.  I was amazed.  At speeds I tricycle steer with my other bikes, the S7 tends to counter-steer.  That will take some getting used to.

I need to make a little tool-roll of the essential spanners, screwdrivers, and a tommy bar.  Then I will feel better about venturing further from the house.


  1. Wonderful news. I thought the head gasket was seeping because I got a drip down the left-rear side of the engine. It turns out that its NOT the head gasket. During a short ride this weekend, I stopped the bike and did a bolt tightness check. It was during this close inspection that I discovered that the oil is actually dripping from the bottom of the distributor base gasket, then running along the tunnel cover plate, and then dripping down the side of the engine. That's a REALLY easy fix, and I am very relieved.

    I did a few miles puttering around the neighborhood this weekend. I didn't dare go too far yet. The battery got weak on me so I think I'll wait till I get the solid state regulator from Rooster Ignitions.

    My left-foot braking skills are improving.

  2. It seems the charging is inadequate. I made it four miles round trip today, and ended up with a marginally discharged battery. As long as I kept the revs up it was fine, but as soon as I let the revs drop, the spark must have gotten weak because the engine began to falter.

    I can't get full ammeter output out of the dynamo. It only gets barely above two amps charge when revving. At idle the system draws almost 4 amps discharge. I would think that the battery would charge adequately while I was going down the road, but I can't see the ammeter and drive at the same time.

    Earth connection to the frame has been verified.
    Next thing will be to fit new brushes and verify the spring tension. With the solid state voltage regulator installed there should be no regulation issues and all faults should point back to the dynamo itself.

  3. I've been taking my newly running S7 Deluxe on some short rides to build my confidence in it. It has become apparent that the dynamo simply isn't charging
    enough to keep up with the running lights and the ignition. It certainly won't keep up with the main headlamp.

    I have to rev it pretty high to even get positive charge on the ammeter. The ignition pulls the expected 4 or so amps with no lights on.

    I've got the Rooster Ignitions electronic CVC installed, so that should be fine. I did some basic tests. Field coils ohm out good, each produce a good magnetic field, and pull the 2.x amps at 6volts per the manual. I've got a good earth connection at the dynamo brush terminal back to the battery.
    I disconnected the D dynamo terminal and then I put my variable power supply into the D armature wire back to the voltage regulator. It showed voltage
    increase to the battery and current to show that the CVC was charging and controlling. Only maybe 0.4 volt drop through the electronics of the CVC.

    Here's the final test that has me convinced something wrong with the dynamo brushes. I disconnected the armature lead of the dynamo. Then placed a 6 volt
    battery in series with the running lamp and the armature lead to give me current running through the system. I put the running lamp as a load in series with the
    battery so the current had to pass through the armature to get back to chassis earth. This way I could turn the armature and look for bad windings on the
    armature shown by dim or bright changes in the running lamp. All the commutators showed the same brightness in the bulb, which is encouraging.
    However, the bulb was dim... I figured it was just the resistance of the armature dropping the voltage. Surprisingly the brushes seemed to generate the
    highest voltage drop (and even got warm with approx 3 amps passing through). The brush on the right side of the bike was dropping a whopping 3 volts if I put
    the voltmeter right across the commutator to the brush wire. Holy Moly... that's why I have to rev the heck out of the engine, there's a colossal voltage
    drop in the brushes, even if I pushed on them to make better contact, they still drop a couple volts.

    So, I noticed the brushes look like some bodged replacement that probably aren't the right ones. They look like pure carbon, rather than a brush that contains a
    bit of soft copper metal and has a lower resistance. I can't see this working with soft carbon brushes. So I guess what I'm asking are the proper brushes a
    dark black full carbon brush, or a golden black color with some copper in them?